Welcome to What We'd Play! With SCG Indianapolis this weekend, many are unsure what they'd play in such a high profile tournament. That's where we come in and let you know what we'd play and why we'd play it. Hopefully this last minute advice aids in your decision-making! Be sure to vote for who you agree with in the poll at the end!
Todd Anderson - Temur Reclamation
Calling it now: Wilderness Reclamation or Nexus of Fate will be banned within the next year.— Todd Anderson (@strong_sad) January 22, 2019
The deck(s) might struggle with hardcore aggressive strategies, but the play patterns are starting to remind me of Aetherworks Marvel. And with access to Root Snare, it might be busted.
At this point, all my sirens are going off. All I can hear when anyone talks about Standard is "Wilderness Reclamation" over and over in my head. There's something to be said when the first draft of a combo/engine strategy just works, and when you combine Wilderness Reclamation with Explosion, bad things are going to happen for the opponent.
This deck has been my passion for the last three weeks. Every other strategy just pales in comparison because this one is so full of raw power. The card Wilderness Reclamation is just an insanely powerful mana generator. Our goal is to find the best home for using all that extra mana. Does it have a fail rate? Sure. Does it struggle against a ton of interaction like Duress, Negate, and Naturalize effects? On occasion. But I think that's more a deckbuilding error than a knock on the archetype itself. After all, no one thought Aetherworks Marvel was "too good" until people started putting it into a midrange shell that could play a fair game when the opponent dealt with your marquee card.
At this point, I'm just trying to trim the engine down to the bare bones so I can incorporate enough interaction to play a fair game when my Plan A goes down the tubes. It's possible that Wilderness Reclamation and Primal Amulet are just too much of the same type of thing, but every time I assemble both together, I usually win a turn or two later. Untapping Primal Wellspring is just bonkers.
There's a good chance this card now belongs in the maindeck. If you have Wilderness Reclamation going, that extra mana can translate into drawing cards, killing opposing creatures/Planeswalkers, or building up more charge counters to keep things running smoothly. The only thing holding back Firemind's Research was that it cost a lot of mana to use. With Wilderness Reclamation, we're flush. I've already been impressed by Dawn of Hope in Bant versions of this archetype, so I'm excited to try out Firemind's Research in that slot.
At this point, I've said about as much as I'm going to say on Wilderness Reclamation. The card is busted, but it might take some time for us to figure everything out. Plus, with it being four mana and an enchantment that doesn't "do anything," there's a chance it can be hated out over time. But for now, in the early weeks of this new Standard format, let's get wild.
Let's do something crazy.
Sam Black - Esper Control
For the first week, I'd play Esper Control. I'm not especially committed to the exact particulars of this decklist, though it's doing a lot of things I like. The reason I want to be Esper Control is that I think Mortify, Kaya's Wrath, and Unmoored Ego are well-positioned right now. I expect a lot of people to play Wilderness Reclamation decks and burn decks, and I think this deck is fantastic against both of those strategies. I also expect a reasonable amount of Judith decks, and Cry of the Carnarium seems incredible against them.
This deck is pushed almost beyond the point of reason on being light on actual ways to win the game, with only 2 Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, 2 Warrant, and 1 The Mirari Conjecture. I'm legitimately tempted to add one Devious Cover-Up for the slowest possible "loop" with The Mirari Conjecture to try to make sure I can actually win games.
I imagine that almost everyone who actually plays a deck like this with play four Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, but I just don't really think that's a good idea, or at least it's not the reason I want to play this deck. I worry that protecting a planeswalker against counterspells and haste creatures just isn't worth the trouble. It's a great way to seal up a game, but I don't want my strategy to rely on it.
Dovin's Acuity is a card I'm extremely optimistic about. I think this card is fantastic, offering an excellent two-for-one against Mortify that trades even on mana, and giving a Disinformation Campaign style engine if unanswered. I think the life gain is vastly underrated on this card. I'd play more except that I don't really think you want to draw multiples.
Bennie Smith - Jund Frenzy
- 2 Doom Whisperer
- 1 Gruul Spellbreaker
- 4 Jadelight Ranger
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 4 Merfolk Branchwalker
- 2 Seekers' Squire
- 4 Wayward Swordtooth
- 4 Wildgrowth Walker
- 1 Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar
I've been dying to play Experimental Frenzy alongside explore creatures and Wayward Swordtooth; now I've got the right lands to pull it off! I've got sixteen green sources and fifteen sources of both black and red. I already own the Stomping Grounds and Blood Crypts so there aren't too many cards from Ravnica Allegiance that I need to scrounge up for week 1. I know a lot of people are moving away from the explore creatures in favor of new hotness like Growth-Chamber Guardian and Incubation Druid, but I like having the life buffer of Wildgrowth Walker to get full use of the shocklands. Besides, all this talk of new burn decks gives me good reason to keep the lifegain flowing.
I really like that the card advantage of Theater of Horrors works in tandem with Experimental Frenzy, and I may try to tool the deck to have more of those in the main going forward. For now I've got one in the sideboard to bring in slower decks, along with Rhythm of the Wild. Cast Down and Lava Coil gives me more earlygame interaction against aggressive decks, and adding Vraska's Contempt to the Lava Coils provides some permanent answers to sticky threats, like Rekindling Phoenix. If you're looking to have some epic Experimental Frenzy turns like I am, give this deck a try!
Cedric Phillips - Boros Aggro
- 4 Adanto Vanguard
- 4 Benalish Marshal
- 4 Dauntless Bodyguard
- 2 Hunted Witness
- 4 Skymarcher Aspirant
- 4 Snubhorn Sentry
- 4 Venerated Loxodon
Look, I'm not always looking to play an aggressive white deck, but something doesn't add up to me.
All these people are trying to break Wilderness Reclamation. And if I had the time to do so, I would be trying to as well because the card is completely absurd and will likely be banned at some stage during its Standard lifespan. But as those Wilderness Reclamation decks evolve, they're getting further and further away from fog effects and removal and more towards maindeck was to beat control decks and inevitable mirror matches.
Less fogs. Less removal. And if I'm on the play with a reasonable start and these Wilderness Reclamation players don't have Growth Spiral on turn 2, do we even have to bother playing turns 3 through X, where X is likely not more than 5? I'm going to bet that we do not.
And then there's Mono-Red Aggro and/or Rakdos Aggro, whose card quality is lower than that of Boros on average. Yes, they have Goblin Chainwhirler, but that's not as good against Boros as one would think. Because if it was, The Chainwhirler would have pushed Boros out of the format after Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica.
But as we know, that didn't happen. What pushed Boros out of the format was Golgari Midrange. You know what deck no one is talking about playing because it's horrible against Wildness Reclamation and the control decks of the format? Golgari Midrange.
Being the Online Content Coordinator of this website lets me get into the mind of 20+ exquisite Magic players. Not a single one of them have mentioned Boros Aggro - the deck that dominated Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica - once in two weeks.
Someone is wrong here. I don't feel this way often, but I don't think it's me.
Emma Handy - Simic Merfolk
- 4 Benthic Biomancer
- 4 Deeproot Elite
- 2 Exclusion Mage
- 4 Merfolk Mistbinder
- 4 Merfolk Trickster
- 4 Silvergill Adept
- 1 Kopala, Warden of Waves
- 4 Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca
Originally, I started playing this deck as a joke, but it...kept winning.
Earlier in the format when decks are fairly untuned, people tend to lean towards extremes in deckbuilding, hoping to be as degenerate as possible. Merfolk is great at punishing this.
Creature decks can't beat Merfolk before they're outsized by the lords; control decks and combo decks get got by the full playset of Spell Pierce; and the red decks struggle with the fact that Merfolk's cards are a hair slower, but larger and better at going long.
Ravnica Allegiance gave the deck what it was missing most: one-drops. Before this set, the deck just had a pile of two-drops and Kumena as cards that were worth playing. Between Benthic Biomancer and the Ancient Stirrings analog that is Incubation, the deck became more consistent at what it does, and better at simply curving in the way that a deck needs to.
The deck continues to impress me, but it's somewhat difficult to pilot. Make sure and get some reps in because you won't be disappointed.
Dylan Hand - Bant Nexus
The above list includes minor changes to my list from my article on Monday, but the premise is the same. The biggest change is moving Hydroid Krasis to the maindeck, since I failed to realize that the deck literally cannot win the mirror match game 1 otherwise. I firmly believe that Hydroid Krasis also strikes the perfect balance of win condition and stepping stone to winning the game, as the lifegain and card draw Hydroid Krasis provides is invaluable and provides flood protection should you start to run out of gas.
The sideboard makes serious nods to Mono-Red Aggro / Rakdos Aggro as well as control decks in the week one metagame. Those two extremes are your most difficult matchups, as the midrange / green decks you'll face will likely be easy to defeat. Against Mono-Red, use Knight of Autumn and Lyra Dawnbringer to bridge you into the lategame, and let Carnage Tyrant and Negate do all of the heavy lifting against the control decks, and it's safe to assume you'll have a solid plan for week one of this format. Four Negates and Knight of Autumns are your plan for the mirror match, as you want to make sure you keep Wilderness Reclamation off the battlefield as much as possible.
Have fun taking all the turns!
Shaheen Soorani - Esper Control
After a ton of new Standard reps, it's looking much brighter for the future of control. Ravnica Allegiance has gifted us with the best battlefield sweeper that we've had access to in years. The nervousness I had when the mana cost was revealed on Kaya's Wrath has dissipated. In practice, the destruction of our opponents' creatures comes easier than anticipated. Kaya's Wrath is also much more powerful than I thought, prompting me to keep it at four copies without hesitation.
I cut Dovin, Grand Arbiter from the initial list I released. I do think it has a role in a fully tap-out control deck, but it hasn't been spectacular with counterspells. The rest of the deck flows well with the addition of The Eldest Reborn and a second Negate to protect the limited win conditions the deck has. Game 1 is the Teferi, Hero of Dominaria show, but after sideboard we release the creatures. This is a great choice for SCG Indianapolis this weekend because of its matchup against control and midrange decks. It has performed decently against aggro, losing game 1 but rallying in the sideboard games.